'Grandmother of Juneteenth' celebrates federal holiday -- but there is more work to do. Here's how you can help - CNN
Jun 17, 2021 1 min, 48 secs
"I'm not just going to sit and rock, you know?" the determined "Grandmother of Juneteenth" told CNN.

"The Lord is going to have to catch me."

Days later, the spirited nonagenarian shouted with delight as she watched Congress pass a bill to make Juneteenth -- June 19 -- a nationwide holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

"I've got so many different feelings all gurgling up here -- I don't know what to call them all," she told CNN affiliate KTVT in Fort Worth, Texas, where she lives.

She grew up celebrating the holiday in Marshall, Texas, and says the special day felt like Christmas.

"We would go to a place called 'the fairgrounds' and there would be baseball games and food," she recalls.

Educate the future

For Lee, Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom.

In honor of the day, the Texas native hosted annual 2.5-mile walks to commemorate the seldom told history of some 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, who did not learn of their freedom until two and half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

You've got to know what happened and you've got to heal from that."

As a former educator whose job involved social work, Lee now strives to ensure future generations know about Juneteenth.

Celebrate and commemorate

You can honor Juneteenth and amplify its importance in your own community with any of the following organizations and virtual opportunities.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture is hosting an online celebration called, Juneteenth: A Celebration of Resistance.

For added education and awareness, the museum also put together an interactive timeline that walks online users through the history of Juneteenth and its significance today.StepAfrika is calling viewers to its virtual theater for a Juneteenth performance which will broadcast at 8 p.m.

In honor of Juneteenth, the company is encouraging people to spend 2.5 hours in nature considering the question, "What does freedom mean to me in America?" Participants are also asked to reflect on the legacy of the 250,000 Black Americans in Galveston, Texas, who were denied their freedom for more than two years.

A major highlight of the weekend is the organization's Juneteenth Freedom Concert which will stream online.


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